Coal Ash Data Waiting for Local Reporters

September 23, 2009

In many parts of the U.S., there is a coal-ash disposal operation just waiting for some local environmental reporter to come along and write a probing story about it. The nearly unregulated ash, slag, and sludge from coal-burning electric utilities contains a range of heavy metals that can pollute water, and occasionally — as it did in Kingston, TN, in Dec. 2008 — bury people's houses.

Often pushing against electric utilities' desire for secrecy, EPA and others have made much information about coal-ash disposal available to the public (and media). The WatchDog has noted this piecemeal in previous issues. Here's a roundup of some of the major sources of raw information now available to reporters.